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Facebook users can get caught buying or selling guns on the platform up to 10 times in some cases before finally getting kicked off, report says

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Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.
Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • Facebook banned private gun sales in 2016 but allows buyers and sellers on its platform 10 strikes before booting them off, per WaPo.

  • The tech giant says nearly 90% of people who violate the policy don't get more than two strikes.

  • The ease of buying a gun in the US is under heightened attention again following several mass shootings in recent weeks.

Facebook banned private gun sales six years ago, but it lets gun buyers and sellers violate the policy nearly a dozen times before it will give them the boot, according to a new report.

The company has a 10-strikes rule for users violating the ban on privately buying and selling guns, The Washington Post reported Thursday, citing internal documents it obtained. The policy is five strikes for gun buyers and sellers who "actively call for violence or praise a known dangerous organization," WaPo reported, citing the company documents.

Facebook banned private gun sales in 2016 amid mounting pressure from users, activist groups, and government officials and agencies.

Several mass shootings in recent weeks have put renewed attention on the ease of obtaining guns in the US. These include the shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, in which 19 students and two teachers were killed. The 18-year-old gunman legally purchased two AR platform rifles at a licensed gun store days before the shooting.

Through a tiered penalty system, Facebook users face more severe consequences for violations as they accumulate more of them, but they can commit up to 10 violations of the ban before they're kicked off the platform, per WaPo.

Facebook's website says, for most violations, a first strike is met with a warning but no further restrictions. A second strike warrants a one-day restriction from making content, such as posts or comments; a third gets users a 3-day restriction; a fourth earns users a 7-day restriction; and five or more strikes kick off a 30-day restriction.

Facebook may remove an account after the fifth strike "depending on the severity and frequency of the violations," according to its website. It may also disable an account upon a first strike, depending on the offense. Andy Stone, policy communications director at Meta, Facebook's parent company, said in a tweet Thursday responding to The Washington Post's story that there are "instances where enforcement is one-and-done."

The company says whether it slaps a strike on a user's account depends on "the severity of the content, the context in which it was shared and when it was posted."

Meta, Facebook's parent company, says most violations of the ban are inadvertent.

"The reality is that nearly 90 percent of people who get a strike for violating our firearms policy accrue less than two because their violations are inadvertent and once we inform them about our policies, they don't violate them again," Stone said in a tweet.

He added: "We prohibit individuals from buying or selling guns on our apps, remove violating content as soon as we see it, and impose increasingly severe account restrictions for people that repeatedly violate our policies, culminating in the account being permanently disabled. If we identify any serious violations that have the potential for real-world harm, we don't hesitate to contact law enforcement."

Meta is carrying out an "ongoing review of our larger enforcement protocols to see how we can continue to
improve them," Stone continued.

Read the original article on Business Insider